May 24, 2022

Japan: “National Diet Library Embraces Digitization and On-line Reading”

The following article about digitization at the National Diet Library in Japan is part of a feature titled “Checking Out Libraries”  published by GLOBE, an English-language publication from Japan’s Asahi Shimbun.

The article also includes info about digitization efforts at the National Library of Korea.

From the Article:

The National Diet Library stores more than 38 million items in the Tokyo Main Library, the Kansai-kan (Kyoto) facility and elsewhere. If all its bookshelves were lined up end to end, they would stretch roughly 730 kilometers, or the distance from Tokyo to Okayama Prefecture, as the crow flies.

The ability to amass such a huge collection is made possible by the “Legal Deposit System,” which obliges publishers to send all new books, newspapers, magazines, music CDs, DVDs and so on to the NDL. The library usually pays half the regular price, plus shipping costs.


Today, the NDL has been tasked with a new mission: the transition to “digital library.”

The digitization process began in earnest in 2009 following a revision to the Copyright Law, which meant the NDL could now proceed with the digitization of its archives even without the permission of copyright holders. A supplementary budget of 12.7 billion yen ($128.7 million) was allocated for digitization. This was a hundredfold increase on the amount previously allocated for this purpose.

Starting with 890,000 books received from the Meiji Era (1868-1912) through to 1968, the NDL digitized 2.25 million works in total, including magazines, official gazettes and doctoral theses. Of these, 470,000 can now be read in full on the Internet.

Read the Complete Article

Direct to NDL Digitized Contents (English Language Interface)

Direct to NDL Search (English Language Interface)

See Also: Denmark: “Libraries Provide Space for People to Interact”
Another article from the report.

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.